Overseas mail from military

I am ex-military, fortunate enough to have never been in the path of angry fire. That was twenty years ago. My wife and I have been sending care packages to serviceman in the mid-east. We do not support the war, but we do support our servicemen/women. We sent a package to a Marine unit in Iraq. We got a very nice letter back from the Marine who got the package. My question is this, the postmark on the letter is dated MAY 26, the postmark is the common circle has 2D FSSG *** Postal DET 3 on the top half, and FPO AE 09*** on the bottom half. * indicates characters too smudged to read. Is May 26 when it left Iraq, (good service) or when it got in the states (not so good service)? (The letter arrived here today)

I’d say it’s pretty good service from a combat zone. The smudged characters are numbers as an APO (Army Post Office) or FPO (Fleet Post Office) is considered a United States mailing address; thus, those numbers are the ZIP Code.

Just like many other places, the mail from smaller post offices is consolidated at a larger area facility and then shipped on its way. Depending on what’s going on in the area, that might happen very quickly or a tad slowly.

Forgot to mention something: The postmark is not the day it left Iraq or got into the US. It’s the date the servicing postal clerk received it as mail.

Thanks for the info Monty. Is there anyway of knowing if that servicing postal clerk was in Iraq or New York? If it was in Iraq I would say the delivery time was better than good, it was great. But if on the 26th of May it was processed in New York, and it took 10+ days to make it to Wisconsin I would say that was not so good. It really is a side issue, this dog and Mrs. Dog were thrilled to get any letter at all. It probably took a heck of a lot more percentage of his free time to send us a letter than it took of our free time to send a package. It was a warm and fuzzy for us.

It was just curiousity.

The servicing postal clerk is the one assigned to the area (or the unit in that area) where the letter/package is presented to said clerk as a mailable item. Only deployable, deployed, and overseas units are authorized military postal facilities. So, the servicing clerk is nearly 100% not in New York, but rather is probably in Iraq.

One of the very important things to be done prior to a unit deploying into any area is to send a message to the military postal command (I forget the actual name; it might even be that) informing them of where the unit is. For obvious reasons, that message may very well be classified.

Thanks for the breakdown. It was probably may 26 that some clerk in the military command that processed it over there, and it just got here now. That is good service indeed. I was not questioning the time of the soldier, just the time the military/USPS took to get it here. It looks to me like they are doing a good job of it.